Citizens Battle Against Corruption Rep. Sherwin Tugna is batting for the passage of the anti-turncoastism bill into a law before the 17th Congress ends in June 2019.
Tugna, House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms chairperson, said the substituted four bills, including House Bill No. 697 principally authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, aim to stop political butterflies during and after the election period.
He said he is hoping that the consolidated bill would be passed on second and third reading as soon as the House of Representatives resumes session on Nov. 12.
“Here at the lower House, I think the bill has already been agreed [in principle]. This is the pet bill of the Speaker. This is such a good measure,” he said.
“Yes. Of course, with the blessing of the President [Rodrigo Duterte.,” he added.
Tugna is a lawyer and member of the Philippine Constitution Association, led by its president Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
“I don’t know Malacañang’s position, but of course, I believe the President will support anything that is good for the country. He will sign it [bill] into law,” he said.
He said he had already discuss the bill’s update with Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation chairperson.
“I will have to talk to my counterpart at the Senate, the newly-wed Senator Koko when the bill’s hearing would be and its progress,” he said.
The measure would help discourage political butterflies or turncoats while strengthening the country’s political party system, Tugna said.
The bill, if passed, would disallow a violating politician to run again in the next scheduled election and also will be banned from being appointed in public office if they transfer to another political party one year after his or her election and one year before the scheduled next poll.
Under the measure, politicians, including senators, are only allowed to change their political party during the second year of their term.
The three other substituted measures are HB No. 522 authored by Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, HB No. 1695 by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Maximo Rodriguez and HB No. 7088 by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.
Arroyo’s HB No. 697 would give importance to party ideals and policy agenda rather than political pragmatism and survival.